Ronald Levin “Ron” Carter (born May 4, 1937) is an American jazz double bassist. His appearances on 2,221 recording sessions make him the most-recorded jazz bassist in history. Carter is also a cellist who has recorded numerous times on that instrument.
Some of his studio albums as a leader include: Blues Farm (1973); All Blues (1973); Spanish Blue (1974); Anything Goes (1975); Yellow & Green(1976); Pastels (1976); Piccolo (1977); Third Plane (1977); Peg Leg (1978); and A Song for You (1978).
He was a member of the Miles Davis Quintet in the early 1960s, which also included Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and drummer Tony Williams. Carter joined Davis’s group in 1963, appearing on the album Seven Steps to Heaven and the follow-up E.S.P.. Carter also performed on some of Hancock, Williams and Shorter’s recordings during the sixties for Blue Note Records. He was a sideman on many Blue Note recordings of the era, playing with Sam Rivers, Freddie Hubbard, Duke Pearson, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Horace Silver and many others. He was elected to the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2012. In 1993, he won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Group and another Grammy in 1998 for “an instrumental composition for the film” Round Midnight. In 2010 he was honored with France’s premier cultural award, the medallion and title of Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Carter was born in Ferndale, Michigan. He started to play cello at the age of 10, but when his family moved to Detroit, he ran into difficulties performing on cello due to the racial stereotyping of classical musicians, the vast majority of whom were white at that time. Carter switched to playing double bass. He attended Cass Technical High School in Detroit, and, later, the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he played in its Philharmonic Orchestra. He finished his bachelor’s degree at Eastman in 1959, and in 1961 a master’s degree in double bass performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.